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Volume 2017, Article ID 5785617, 8 pages
Research Article

A Novel Procedure for Measuring Semantic Synergy

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 84105 Beer-Sheva, Israel

Correspondence should be addressed to Yair Neuman;

Received 8 September 2016; Revised 3 November 2016; Accepted 5 December 2016; Published 15 January 2017

Academic Editor: Sergio Gómez

Copyright © 2017 Yair Neuman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One interesting characteristic of some complex systems is the formation of macro level constructions perceived as having features that cannot be reduced to their micro level constituents. This characteristic is considered to be the expression of synergy where the joint action of the constituents produces unique features that are irreducible to the constituents isolated behavior or their simple composition. The synergy, characterizing complex systems, has been well acknowledged but difficult to conceptualize and quantify in the context of computing the emerging meaning of various linguistic and conceptual constructs. In this paper, we propose a novel measure/procedure for quantifying semantic synergy. This measure draws on a general idea of synergy as has been proposed in biology. We validate this measure by providing evidence for its ability to predict the semantic transparency of linguistic compounds (Experiment ) and the abstractness rating of nouns (Experiment ).